Fatal bus crash: Fund set up to help families of victims

A donation fund has been set up to help the families of victims of last week’s deadly bus crash in Orland, Calif., that killed 10 people, including several Southern California high school students.

The fund was set up to help families offset funeral costs and other financial hardships in the wake of last week’s crash on Interstate 5.

A FedEx freight truck crossed a median about 5:30 p.m. Thursday and slammed head-on into a charter bus carrying 48 people, including 44 local high school students headed for Humboldt State University.

In all, five students were killed, as were three adult chaperons and the drivers of the two vehicles. The students were part of a university program that provides higher-education opportunities for low-income and first-generation college students.


On Monday, Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino announced his office had partnered with Sharefest to set up a fund for crash victims. Donations can be made online at Checks can be made payable to Sharefest with “Humboldt bus crash victims assistance fund” in the memo line. The money should be sent to Sharefest Community Development, 3480 Torrance Blvd. No. 110, Torrance, CA 90503.

National Transportation Safety Board officials said looking at “fatigue, distraction and other human performance issues” as a priority. NTSB board member Mark Rosekind said the FedEx driver was based in Sacramento and had taken a load of freight to a town just south of the Oregon border earlier in the day.

The driver picked up two semitrailers — one partly loaded, the other empty — and was returning to Sacramento when the accident occurred.

Rosekind said that the truck left no skid marks on the road or the median as it veered into oncoming traffic. In contrast, more than 145 feet of tire marks indicated the bus driver tried to stop and swerve to the right.

“That driver was clearly reacting to a situation with braking and a driving maneuver,” he said.

Rosekind cautioned that it remained too early to tell what prompted the FedEx driver to leave the southbound lanes. The investigator said blood samples had been obtained from the drivers. The samples will be used to test for alcohol, drugs or medication.

It could take months for the board to issue its final report on the accident, Rosekind said. A preliminary report will be released in 30 days.

Twitter: @josephserna